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Former Erie County health inspector who filed false inspections spared jail time

An Erie County judge has, as desired by both the defense attorney and the Erie County District Attorney, shown leniency for a man who admitted earlier this year to filing more than a dozen restaurant health inspections that he never actually conducted.

Timothy Bean, who pleaded guilty in June to 14 counts of official misconduct, was sentenced Thursday morning by Judge Kenneth Case to three years probation and 200 hours of community service.

"The probation which has been assessed in this particular case is comparable to a conditional discharge," said Terrence Connors, who represented Bean in his case. "The only difference is there are reporting requirements to the probation department and some monitoring of his community service. I think from that standpoint, we're satisfied and believe it was an appropriate disposition."

Bean admitted to filing 14 false inspection reports over a two-month period. The defense, in presenting his case to keep Bean out of prison, detailed several personal issues which built up his stress during that period. These included the deaths of two people close to him within a year's time, a near-death of a close family member and a health scare of his own.

"He had pressures and stress and things that were affecting him," Connors said. "We documented all of those in our pre-sentence brochure for the judge, which the judge thoroughly looked at, analyzed and agreed with us today. We're happy for that."

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn never sought jail time for Bean, taking the defendant's multiple personal issues under consideration. He says while he doesn't condone Bean's actions, he also noted in June that no one was sickened as the result of a false report.

Flynn on Thursday restated a point made on the day of Bean's guilty plea that there are two kinds of criminals whose cases are brought before him: those who are genuinely bad people who do bad things, and otherwise good people who for one reason or another make a poor decision. The district attorney considers Bean to be in the latter category.

"I recognize that he put people at risk for food poisoning," Flynn said. "But there are times when I can be merciful and there are times that I'm not going to be. With Mr. Bean, I was able to be merciful."

Connors said outside the courtroom that Bean has found new employment and is undergoing the counseling he needs to address personal issues that still affect him. There will be no appeal of the sentence, Connors added.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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